I heard on the news the other night that most "Black Friday" shoppers were buying items for themselves, not for others (at least in my local news area). While I question the accuracy of this kind of "statistic" (as well as the validity of the news reporting), it doesn't surprise me. It saddens me though. In the documentary film "What Would Jesus Buy?" (Google it if you're interested), there was this quote: "We used to be a nation of producers; now we're a nation of consumers . . . . a shopping-addicted country." This is not something to be proud of; this is NOT progress. More to the point regarding Black Friday--since, supposedly, the shopping is in preparation for Christmas--this is NOT what Christmas is about!
Although I loved the excitement of Christmas as a kid and started compiling 20-page wish lists for Santa earlier than I'd now like to admit, I never expected to get anything on my lists (and I usually didn't!). It didn't matter what I got for Christmas. It was the excitement of the holidays and spending time with family and extended family that I relished in. In fact, one of my most memorable presents was when I was five years old and my oldest brother sneaked into my room and took my favorite stuffed animal, wrapped it up, and gave it to me. (This prank actually turned into a running joke, and, for many years--even when I was in college!--we gifted the stuffed animal back and forth to each other: I'd give it to him on his birthday, and I'd get it back at Christmas.) Every year, then, I delighted in receiving something that I'd already had for years; I was delighting in the moment--the connection with my brother--and NOT in the item itself. When kids (and all people) start delighting only in the items themselves, as seems to be the case for much of America (evidenced by the Black Friday tramplings, stabbings, shootings, and spittings over waffle-makers and flat-screen TVs), there's something seriously wrong...
...Not to mention that, by shopping at chain retailers, your money is going into the wrong people's pockets and, thus, you are supporting a corrupt and unjust system. So, if you shop, SHOP LOCAL and INDEPENDENT stores, and support the people who deserve it!
That said, HAPPY HOLIDAYS! :-)